This mirrorless thing has really gone way further than I predicted in the first place. We said it last week: a pythoness of the digital market Baron I is not. I really thought that the MILC developers would linger much more with unexciting small frame models, even smaller than APS-C which it is way too small to be taken seriously.
Size matters more than ladies would ever admit. Those who, with the purpose of making you buy a digital camera, take you people for idiots often say that small sensors have more depth of film than larger ones and thus it is more difficult to achieve a nice ‘3d effect’ (or ‘defocussing’ or whatever they call it) with a small sensor. This is utterly false. There really is no need to lie to people; I’ve personally seen a salesman in one of the biggest photo stores in my area that ‘digital has more DOF than analog’. That’s outrageous.
What larger sensors actually do is using longer lenses to achieve the same angles of view. Longer lenses lead to less DOF. Less DOF leads to more extreme defocussing. And more extreme defocussing leads to the Dark Side. Wait, no. it actually leads to the photographic Canaan: a land flowing with milk and honey. Some folks say that the very concept of bokeh was invented by Japanese salesmen in order to sell faster and more expensive lenses, but I have an idiotic fondness for extreme defocussing that only larger formats can fulfill. As any infomercial on mechanical penis enlargers would confirm, big is better.
And you know what, Fuji is releasing a camera that has a sensor for days, 1.7 times bigger than a FF; and Hasselblad recently released another digital medium format system with a sensor of similar size. I’m normally not too amused at digital gizmoes hitting the market, but these cameras have a feature that touches my little black heart: a ridiculously short flange distance. This enables medium format mirrorless cameras (MFMILC? MFEVIL? I like more MFEVIL cause it looks like it reads ‘motherfucking evil’ and I have a sense of humor like that of a 13 year old) to use lenses from any other medium format camera system and I would really love to attach an 80mm f2 Norita lens on one of them. Heck, you could even put a Leica M lens on them and it would be able to achieve infinity focus. Before you laugh at how idiot I am and telling me on the comments box that this would be pointless because it will vignette, take into account that you can crop them to full frame (which is a peculiar concept itself) in PS and you still would have zillions of pixels in your pic, so for the price of one of them you will be able to use any 35mm or medium format lens you could imagine.
I have to admit it: digital cameras are getting more interesting. Maybe there will be one day in which digital will beat film. But this won’t happen tomorrow.
I’ve been commenting it in both instagram and twitter these days, and maybe there’s not that much to it than what it is, but I keep perplexed at the fact that, according to data provided by them, the most sold camera at Amazon this Xmas was the Fuji Instax Mini, and at the moment of writing this post, still is. If this is true, this is mindblowing.
Before you guys go three hoorays for the analog revival and crack open your Dom Perignon bottles, please take into account that this is no hard data (because Amazon doesn’t provide these) and that, if it is true, there might be a number of factors influencing it besides a surge of interest on instant photography. This said, it is undeniable that them guys at Fujifilm have been doing their homework extra hard. They really trusted in a breed of photography that its own creators, Polaroid, thought as good as extinct and made a ton of cash out of it. Good for them and for us, analog afficionadoes.
As you kids well know, the Baron has repeatedly exposed his viewpoint on the so called ‘analog revival’. Long story short: this revival exists only in the minds of those ensnared by Lomography’s marketing and some other misled beings. Analog photography has been losing ground uninterruptedly for more than a decade now. Before you throw the bathwater out with the baby: no, it doesn’t mean that analog photography will end tomorrow or in a decade, it just means that there are fewer of us that enjoy it. Rejoice, for there are only true believers left here, and all this.
But there are also some victories on our side. I’m talking about two recent events. First, it looks like the new Ferrania, an enterprise founded on the ashes of the old Italian film company, has been producing and testing film for a few months now and everything is going steadily. This is a HUGE success for the very serious, very enthusiastic, guys in its lead. Please go on.
If I tell you I have a nice camera made in China you will say ‘so what’. Yes, now everything is made in the Unpopular Republic of China by workers paid peanuts while factories keep closing in the West. For the powers that be it’s win-win. For 99.9999% people in this wretched world, it’s a disaster of biblical proportion. Before 2000 the made in China label carried an aura of exoticism, as it was almost unknown here in the West. Back in the day, made in China was so freakin cool.
We can finally announce that we have gone online with our own store. Finally Camera Store Barcelona is its own man in the Internets. We will keep our presence in ebay, and I will try to mislead you to our ebay store as often as ever, but now we also have our own thing. Migrating our store has been a lot of effort, but the sight of so much leather & chrome really eased it all a lot.
Of course, I’m inviting you to check our new store out, here at our site. And I’m just inviting you, which is quite mild, because my lawyers told me that installing a plugin that went apeshit and spamming pop-ups would have undesired legal consequences. The consequences will never be the same, said a philosopher. Yes, we are proof that rehab from 4chan works in some cases.
On the serious side now, as you can see, we’ve gone nuts and are offering insane discounts, up to 30 to celebrate we’re in the ‘nets. From now to the 19th, If you want to go and steal a shiny, shiny chromed gizmo from us, now it’s your chance.
We haven’t seen any official announcement, which, on the other hand is quite normal for Chinese (AKA from the country without law) enterprises, but we can now surely say that the Shanghai GP3 120 film isn’t being made anymore. For a year and a half prices have been skyrocketing in the evilbay and other gray market sites to insane amounts, and finally, even the most obnoxious offers have ceased. Sold out. Sould out and not made anymore. The auction you see above is from an ebay post. They sold the last three rolls for 111 US dollars. This makes every roll 37 George Washingtons, which is in-fucking-sane. And even more if you take into account that this was notorious for being the cheapest 120 film around, both label and quality wise. And I loved it, GODDAMIT. This is a twilight moment for the Baron. Everything I love goes. Don’t get me to like you: the Cosmos will kill you just to piss me off.
If there were analog cameras that truly were another breed were the Polaroids. The reasons that they were totally different beasts from the far more common 35mm and medium format cameras lies in the much larger area that the polaroid had to expose; you see, for all effects, the Polas were large format cameras only that its negative (because all Polaroid film involved a negative, and the really clever ones didn’t show it to you) was used only once on a single contact print.
The fact that they were dumbified large format cameras amazes me. Dr. Land, the designer of all Polaroid cameras very much followed the path set up by designers of 6×9 folders that were the rage until the popularisation of the 35mm cinefilm format in the early 1930’s by Leica. If you take a look at the first Polas from the 1950’s, the similarities are obvious. The folding served more purposes than just coolness: it was intended for portability. See, the exposure area being larger meant that the focal distance of the lenses involved had to be in proportion; this made for very large cameras, and here’s where the folding shines: it could be collapsed into the body when not in use and it was much lighter than any other alternative. With time, the designs were more and more simplified in order to cut costs and being able to sell the cameras for cheaper. What you see above, the Type 80, was an involution on the concept: it simply got rid of the bellows and changed it for rigid thermoplastic integrated into the film compartment; with setting operable from the both the body and the fixed lensboard.
I’ve noticed a trend lately in photo blogs, forums, and even in mainstream media towards saying that there is an ‘analog photography comeback’. As if it was dead but it was coming back. Now I play you: “But Baron I, sure there’s a comeback, cuz there new blood in analog photography because of Lomography and blah, blah, blah”. So, in the opinion of those sharp, merry, chaps, the fact that there is generational relief at all makes up for a comeback. Being themselves acute ignorants in all things related to photography, they are so astonished at the fact that a millenial feels like picking a Zenit and shooting a few rolls through it that they feel that there must be the hell of a social phenomenon behind it. Best of all is that you can’t even talk some sense into them because seeing a hipster less than 25 shooting an analog camera once in their lives is undeniable proof. They feel it in their bones, and that is enough. What do numbers and all that boring, boring, stats say about it? They say that those people’s bones are totally clueless and shouldn’t be trusted. Chemical photography supplies factories are closing one after another, most notably Kodak; existing catalogs offer less products and supply costs are skyrocketing due to lower demand and sustained increase in the price of silver. Then someone sees some Lomography cameras and way overpriced rebadged Ferrania film in a department store booth, and boom, here’s the analog revival. Baron I’s two cents: the fact that the only brand new analog cameras you will see out of a very specialised camera store or in the Internet are sold as curios and dressing props should give you an accurate idea of what’s going on really.
Today you gonna read me delve even deeper into madness and talk Russian lenses. Shall we? Ok, now. Once the bug has bitten you and you have the old glass flu, russky lenses are so conspicuously there that you can’t ignore them. Many despise old Soviet glass out of plain prejudice: because it’s a product of the commie economy. Which sure had its issues, but we are talking glass & helicoids now.
For all of those who talk crap on Soviet lenses without knowing shit: you should know that when most Soviet lenses first hit the (very controlled commie countries’ only) market in the 1950s, they were on par with its Western counterparts (I won’t say ‘competition’ because they didn’t share markets), both mechanically and optically. Take into account that many optical legends like the Biotar, the Macro-Switar, the Zoomar, the Angeniéux Rètrofocus, the first Summicron… were mass marketed for the first time in the 50’s.